Rules and reality: quantifying the practice of apprenticeship in early modern Europe
This paper uses recently digitised samples of apprentices and masters in London and Bristol to quantify the practice of apprenticeship in the late 17th century. Apprenticeship appears much more fluid than is traditionally understood. Many apprentices did not complete their terms of indenture; late arrival and early departure from the master’s household was widespread. Other apprentices appear to have been absent temporarily, returning to the master shortly before the end of their indenture. Regression analysis indicates that the patterns of presence and absence are broadly reflective of the resources and outside opportunities available to apprentices.
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